glacial eyes   A Hugely Promising New Series Beginning – Four Stars

To get this out of the way, I was asked to read and review this book. However, just because I am asked to review a book,that doesn’t always mean my review will be fawning, sometimes far from it. So, how did “Glacial Eyes” do in this reviewers eyes?

In a word, there is true potential here for an exceptional series. Jazz, the main character, hasn’t had it easy in the last few years. Her parents were killed and she is trying hard to pay her own way through college. She hasn’t quite figured out what she wants to study yet, but she has time, so it’s all good. Then, one horrible night during a rave in the woods, everything about Jazz’s life changes.

Waking up naked in the woods is no laughing matter. Neither is finding out that everything you thought you knew about reality suddenly needs to be swept out the door with the dust bunnies. Suddenly witches and warlocks and were (oh, my!) are no longer the creatures of fantasy. Waking up to discover you are the newest member of the furry set is a bit more than Jazz can handle at first. Well, that and the fact that she now has boobs. Nice boobs. Way bigger boobs. And what is this thing with the six-pack abs all of a sudden? Yep, things are changing for Jazz.

What follows is one of the better new urban fantasies I have had the pleasure of reading. The characters are well written, and the paranormal community that she enters is realistic. They want to stay hidden in a world where DNA analysis and medical tests are ubiquitous. In order to stay hidden, their rules are tough and not always fair.

The story itself is as much a serial killer mystery as it is an urban fantasy. Being two of my favorite genres, I was thrilled to find that the author does an exceptional job in carrying the story through both styles. The weres are believable as they try to live their lives in a world that would lock them away and dissect and murder them should they be found out. The serial killer storyline itself was believable and kept me guessing. Oh, and Loki the cat? The real hero of the book!

Jazz herself is my kind of girl. She took auto shop while in high school and this girl knows her cars. She drives an old 510 (five-and-dime in “Jazz speak”) but throw in a 180SX engine and my girl has turbo power! As Jazz says “There may be no replacement for displacement, but a turbo sure is fun!” Jazz is no Mercedes Thompson, Volkswagen Mechanic Extraordinaire, but there is enough ‘car-talk’ going on through the book that I got a huge kick out of it. Jazz is tough enough to handle what is going on in this new life without too much freaking out, but she doesn’t fall into the UF trap of being suddenly Superwoman with more tricks in her toolbox than The Tomb Raider. Grand Theft Auto? Well, she can do a bit of that when needed . . . She also doesn’t fall into the UF stupidity of falling into bed within the first five minutes with the love interest. Come on, do real people really do that? Instead, the relationship grows through the book. Oh, and she totally saves his ass instead of the other way around, which ROCKS . . . hey, all you women writers out there?

Why is it only the guy writers like Mark Henwick Sleight of Hand (Bite Back 1) and my newly discovered favorite here doing the “girl kicks ass and saves the guy” scenario? Hello? Anyone listening? Girl saving guy is totally HOT. Speaking of Hot – Jazz’s love interest, Logan, is totally Cajun. Walker even gets the speech patterns right, making me wonder if he, like me, spent time in the bayou country. The rest of the cast of characters are very well written and believable and make you love (or hate) them in a way that makes them believable. You could see these people as your friends. There is death in the book (I lost one of my favorite characters and nearly cried) but nothing is overdone.

All in all? A solid four and a half – simply because I want to hang onto that extra half point to see how well Mr. Walker continues the story from here. There were some glitches in the writing, but for a first book I found Mr. Walker to be quite mature in his style. Amazingly so compared to many published authors. I am going to download Mr. Walker’s next book in the series, “Hollow Eyes” and start reading that one soon. Even with the mountain of books I have on my TBR list, I quite look forward to moving “Hollow Eyes (Salt Lake After Dark)” to the top of the pile. I am sure I won’t be sorry I did so! Some violence but not uber-bloody, a bedroom scene later in the book, a kick-butt heroine, some naughty and nice weres, witches and vampires and probably the best depiction of a dhampyr I have read. Overall, pick it up and read it. You won’t be sorry!